How to make money with a do-good business

Doing good in the world is really important to me. And when I say doing good, I’m really talking about helping...

Doing good in the world is really important to me. And when I say doing good, I’m really talking about helping women to make a difference by creating art that lifts us up, to change their communities, to protect the environment and the planet, and to create businesses that are sustainable and that respect the people working for them, promoting peace and equality for all. That kind of thing.

Yet, doing good in the world doesn’t need to be difficult. It doesn’t need to be all grand and incredible. It’s probably not even what you think it is.

And it can be profitable.

What I want to address in this post is that I believe that everyone can do good with their business – whatever that business is, really, it’s simply a matter of wanting to – and everyone can make money with a do-good business, too… it’s simply a matter of figuring out how (isn’t that the case with every business, by the way?). So, how do we do it?

I believe that any business can be a do-good business. What I mean by this is that any business can help to make the world a better place. There are already numerous examples of businesses and corporations that jumped on the do-good train (I can’t be sure what their ulterior motives are, of course, but in most cases, their doing good does and must count for something).

But the businesses that interest me the most, though, and that I think can make a big impact too, even through very small actions, are the local businesses, the freelancers and solopreneurs, the online businesses run by regular people all over the world, the creative businesses, and so on. Adding all those up, you get to bigger numbers than you think. And big numbers like that can drive big change, even with very small individual actions that don’t require a lot of money or a lot of effort. At least, that’s how I see it.

Very often, when setting out to do good, it feels like a small or isolated action won’t make much of a difference. I know that belief kept me from doing a lot of good in my life, and in my businesses. Only when I realized that any little thing was better than nothing, and that put together they could have a huge impact, did I really start making a difference.

So, you don’t have to be all good to do-good. Or to be a big corporation to make a difference. Anything you do to make a difference helps, and we all have to start somewhere, right? You could decide to recycle more, and that would already be a huge step for the planet in the long run. Or if you have employees, you could allow them half a day per week or a few hours per week to work on their own do-good projects while on company time – the social change this could create is immeasurable if you consider the potential ripple effect these few hours a week could have on the people involved and their communities. Or you might consider teaching someone what you know, so they, too, can start a business and create the life and work they love.

How to make money with a do-good business

Now that you know that you don’t have to be all do good to do good, let’s look at the financial aspect of things. Another limiting belief that kept me from really doing good for a long time was the belief that I couldn’t make money – and enjoy having money – if I was to do good in the world. The story was that, if I really wanted to do good, if this was really my calling, I should be ready to give away all that I had in the name of doing good. Well… it simply isn’t true. You don’t have to give everything away, and you don’t have to live frugally in order to help others. In fact, I’ve come to believe that taking care of yourself first – and taking good care of yourself, at that – is essential to your making a difference in the world. You have to be at your best if you’re going to challenge the status quo, be innovative, and do things differently. You have to be healthy and powerful if you’re going to go against the current, against the norm, and against what everyone around you tells you to do.

Because of this, I advocate that a do good business must use many of the same business principles as a traditional business. Every business needs to be sustainable, and one that does good is no different. So, to the question of how to make money with a do good business, I answer: approach it like a business, and look at your bottom line and profit as a traditional business, always keeping a finger on the money pulse. But – and this is where the do good business differs – know that bottom line and profit are more than just the financial gains from the business.

A positive bottom line in a do good business takes into account the impact of that business on the environment, the planet, its employees, and its customers. Profit is not purely monetary, but also social and environmental.

But what it comes down to is this: doing good is really more a state of mind than anything else. And, it’s something you can start doing at any time. Like right now. So… why don’t you?

Why don’t you change just one thing in your business or at work that can help to make the world a better place? Why don’t you start looking at profit and your bottom line not merely in terms of money, but also in terms of social and environmental impact?

If you did, what would you do differently? And what would your business look like?

Let me know in the comments below.

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